While Britain has had limited World Superbike representation in 2008, Leon Haslam went a long way to proving the nation will be back at the sharp end next year after grabbing a podium finish in the final race of the season.
Joining countrymen Tom Sykes and Cal Crutchlow in securing a wild-card rostrum this season, Haslam put in a charging ride in the second race of the weekend to snatch a fine third place finish.
Despite James Toseland's title win in 2007, no full-time British rider has been on the grid this year. However, Haslam will lead a British contingent of at least five riders in 2009, together with Sykes, Shane Byrne, Jonathan Rea and Tommy Hill.
Graduating with the Stiggy Honda team, Haslam ran second in the first race before suffering with tyre woes and dropping to seventh, although a savvier ride in the second saw him grab a podium with just two laps remaining.
It was the result Haslam was looking for, particularly at the end of a short but successful relationship with the HM Plant team.
“Everyone knows I'm moving to World Superbike in 2009 so I think this podium bodes well for me and 2009. I'm staying with the Honda family with Stiggy Honda – which is important to me – and I'm looking forward to next season.
”I've wanted to be back on the World scene for a while, so to podium here at the last race of the season and my final race for HM Plant Honda is just brilliant. It's a fantastic finish to my season with HM Plant Honda – they've been awesome – and it's great to finish the season on a high.”